Introduction: The usefulness of CPR training in schools has been questioned because young students may not have the physical and cognitive skills needed to correctly perform such complex tasks correctly.
Methods: In pupils, who received six hours of CPR training from their teachers during a standard school semester at four months post training the following outcome parameters were assessed: CPR effectiveness, AED deployment, accuracy in checking vital signs, correctness of recovery position, and whether the ambulance service was effectively notified. Possible correlations of age, gender, body mass index (BMI), and outcome parameters were calculated.
Results: Of 147 students (mean age 13 +/- 2 years), 86% performed CPR correctly. Median depth of chest compressions was 35 mm (inter quartile range (IQR) 31 to 41), and the median number of compressions per minute was 129 bpm (IQR 108 to 143). Sixty nine percent of the students tilted the mannequin head sufficiently for mouth to mouth resuscitation, and the median air volume delivered was 540 ml (IQR 0 to 750). Scores on other life supporting techniques were at least 80% or higher. Depth of chest compressions showed a correlation with BMI (r = 0.35; P < 0.0001), body weight (r = 0.38; P < 0.0001), and body height (r = 0.31; P = 0.0002) but not with age. All other outcomes were found to be unrelated to gender, age, or BMI.
Conclusions: Students as young as 9 years are able to successfully and effectively learn basic life support skills including AED deployment, correct recovery position and emergency calling. As in adults, physical strength may limit depth of chest compressions and ventilation volumes but skill retention is good.